Passover 2021 by Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס"ד
Discover the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
The Song of Songs
It is customary to recite the Song of Songs, the Song that depicts the love between Hashem and Israel, likened to a husband and wife, during the holiday of Pesach, the holiday that depicts Hashem’s love of Israel during the Exodus. Another interpretation of the Song of Songs lies with its story being identified with the story of the People of Israel – the husband, and the Holy Land – the wife. So we learn from the prophet Yeshayahu, who explicitly depicts the People of Israel as a husband and the Holy Land as a wife. According to our Sages, Yeshayahu’s depiction is not merely metaphorical. Rather, this analogy depicts the true and very real spiritual essence that ties these two entities together as soul-mates, considered one unit from before Creation. The conceptualization of Israel as a husband and the Land of Israel as a wife is clearly seen in Kabbalistic sources, which lead the way in interpreting Shir HaShirim, the song of love between husband and wife, in this context as well. Moreover, this conceptualization is also manifested in the realm of halacha. According to halacha, one recites the blessing “who erects the borders of the widow” upon seeing the rebuilding and resettlement of a previously desolate portion of the Land of Israel. Commentaries explain that this exact terminology (which may also not be changed or altered according to halacha), describing the Land of Israel in the absence of the People of Israel as a widow, is the same terminology used in the aforementioned verse in Yeshayahu as well as by other prophets. This law clearly illustrates how the relationship of the Land of Israel to the People of Israel is that of a wife and husband, where the wife is “widowed” in his absence, and reunited with him upon his return.
With Hashem’s aid I have written a full commentary on the entire Song of Songs in this way, depicting the People of Israel as the husband, and the Holy Land as the wife. To offer you a short glimpse into this commentary we will bring part of our commentary on the first verse: “Song” was a commandment upon the Levites in the Temple. Our Sages learn this from the verse “he [the Levite] shall serve in the Name of Hashem,” saying that “service in the Name of Hashem” refers to singing. Onke on Shmot 20, 21 translates the “Name” of Hashem to refer to the Holy Presence. Therefore, the opening words “the Song of Songs” in this megila can homiletically refer to the “Name of Names of Hashem” (Song=Name of Hashem, as mentioned above), and taken a step further, “Names of Hashem” refers to “aspects of the Holy Presence.” Indeed the Kabbalists talk extensively about various aspects of the Holy Presence, especially two aspects coined “Rachel and Leah.” The Arizal links the revelation of the Holy Presence called Rachel to Hebron, while tying the revelation of “Leah” to Jerusalem. He explains that King David wished to greaten the power of the Holy Presence in Jerusalem called Leah by first ruling in Hebron and greatening the power of the Holy Presence called Rachel, for these two aspects are integrally linked and have an influence on each other.
“I am the head of a yeshiva in Israel. A boy in my yeshiva became deathly ill with cancer. After much searching, we found only one private doctor that had a special medical technique that could cure this boy. However, this doctor charges $130,000 for this surgery, and after receiving advice from prominent rabbis, it seemed that we would have to give up this treatment and not burden the public by requesting tzedaka to fund it… However, the next day this boy’s sister called, saying that she had decided to sell her apartment for the price of $130,000, which was much less than it was worth, in order to save her brother’s life, and so she did… On the day that the doctor planned the operation, I received a phone call from a different student of mine, telling me about a suitcase found in a cab. The cab driver had asked for help in returning the suitcase to the person whose name was written on the suitcase (apparently so he would not be suspect of stealing – m.g). It “turns out” that the owner of the suitcase was none other than the doctor we summoned. When I returned this suitcase to the doctor, he told me that this suitcase contained expertise equipment for the surgery that cost $400,000. I took the opportunity to tell the whole story to the doctor of how the boy’s sister sold her apartment for the surgery, and the Providence involved… The doctor “digested” this for a few minutes and then proclaimed: “I will not take any money for this operation!!” R.Z.